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49 killed, 22 injured in US-Bangla Airlines plane crash in Nepal

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-03-13 09:20
Photo taken on March 12, 2018 shows the crash-landing site in Kathmandu, Nepal. A passenger plane of the US-Bangla Airlines crashed at Nepal's Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) on Monday, with dozens feared dead and at least 17 people injured. [Photo/Xinhua]

KATHMANDU -- Forty-nine people were killed and 22 injured after a passenger plane of the US-Bangla Airlines crashed in course of landing at Nepal's Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) on Monday afternoon, government authorities said here.

The incident took place due to the pilot's "missed approach," the authorities said.

General Manager of the TIA Rajkumar Chhetri told media here that the US-Bangla plane crashed in course of landing at the airport due to missed approach of the pilot at 2:15 pm local time (1130 GMT) Monday.

Chhetri said that the Bangla aircraft carrying 71 persons including four crew members narrowly escaped from hitting the tail of Thai Airways plane parked at the airport.

The UBG211 flight was en route to Kathmandu from Dhaka, Bangladesh. The ill-fated plane was said to have circled the airport twice before trying landing.

Separate rescue teams of Nepal Police and Nepal Army were deployed to carry out rescue operations immediately after the crash. Dozens of firefighters and rescuers rushed to the crash site, and the flames were put out in a relatively short time.

The TIA was temporarily closed for incoming and outgoing international flights following the accident.

The injured are receiving treatment at local hospitals in the Capital. Officials said that the death toll may further increase.

Of the total passengers onboard, 33 were from Nepal, 32 from Bangladesh, one from China and one from the Maldives, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal.

The authorities have recovered the dead bodies from the spot later in the day.

The local authorities were also able to recover the black box of the airlines later on Monday.

Nepali Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli spoke to his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina following the incident and expressed sorrow over the loss of lives, according to a statement issued by the prime minister's office here.

Shortly after the incident, Prime Minister Oli along with ministers reached the spot and issued instructions to the government authorities to combat the emergency. While visiting the spot, the prime minister vowed to launch a probe into the incident.

Social media networks in Nepal were flooded with photographs immediately after the deadly plane crash in the capital city.

In Kathmandu Medical College, known as KMC hospital where most of the injured or dead bodies were sent for treatment or placement, heartbroken relatives mourned the death of their loved ones with screams, tears and grief, giving a throbbing ambiance to the hospital.

As soon as the US-Bangla Airlines flight crashed, at least 24 injured were taken to this hospital, which is the nearest one from the crash site, hospital officials said.

Among those taken to KMC hospital, 8 were pronounced dead upon their arrival, including 3 Bangladeshis, three Nepali nationals and two with unidentified nationalities.

The hospital remained tensed till night with the presence of media people, security personnel and even ordinary people, saddened by such a big incident in the country, which recently just formed the federal parliament and appointed new prime minister.

Among those brought in KMC, four were referred to other hospitals while the remaining are undergoing treatment in ICU, surgery ward, ortho ward, plastic ward, among others.

Prakash Bhattarai, administrative director at the KMC hospital, told Xinhua, "We have deployed a special medical team in all the wards where survivors are being treated. Some have shown progress while some are still under intensive care."

According to authorities, other survivors are being treated in different hospitals like Norvic, Mediciti and Om.

Basanta Bohora, who survived the crash and is being treated in Norvic hospital, was quoted by local media as saying, "All of a sudden the plane shook violently and there was a loud bang afterwards. I was seated near the window and was able to break out of the window."

This is the deadliest air crash at Nepal's only international airport after a Turkish Airlines flight crash-landed at the airport in March 2015 with no casualties.

The air crash has been regarded as a big shot to the tourism industry of the Himalayan nation, which is still recovering after the deadly earthquake of 2015 killed nearly 9,000 people.

The US-Bangla Airlines is a privately-owned Bangladeshi airline headquartered in Dhaka.

There were altogether 71 people onboard the plane, including four Bangladeshi crew members, according to a statement released by the Bangladeshi ministry of foreign affairs late Monday night.

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